The constellation Pegasus

Características

Nombre latino
Pegasus
Hemisferio
Hemisferio norte
Visibilidad
August - May
Área
1121 deg²
Estrella más brillante
Enif (HIP number 107315)
Especialidades
Galaxies, globular clusters
The constellation Pegasus

Pegasus represents a winged horse in Greek mythology and is a large constellation near the northern celestial pole. It was already described in antiquity by the Greco-Roman astronomer Claudius Ptolemy. There are several interesting deep-sky objects located in its area.

Hemisphere, visibility, and area

The Pegasus constellation lies in the northern sky, not far from the celestial pole. Due to its location, it is visible from all places in the northern hemisphere, and in many places south of the equator, it can be seen up to the 54th parallel. That corresponds, for example, to the south of Patagonia.

In the northern hemisphere, it can be observed well from August to January, while in southern regions, the months from December to May offer a good view of the constellation.

Pegasus is a very extensive constellation. It covers an area of approximately 1,121 square degrees, making it the seventh-largest constellation in the entire night sky.

In star charts, Pegasus is visualized as a square with additional connections at the corners. The square represents the body of the flying horse, and the lines to the stars on the outside are the head and legs.

The brightest star in the constellation is named Enif (Latin: ε Pegasi, Epsilon Pegasi). It is an orange-red supergiant with an apparent magnitude of roughly 2.4. Its distance is estimated to be around 700 light-years from earth.

Pegasus is surrounded by eight other constellations in the night sky. To the west and north are Andromeda, Lacerta, and Cygnus. To the east are Vulpecula, Delphinus, and Equuleus. To the south and southwest are the two astrological constellations Aquarius and Pisces.

Specialties in the constellation

In the area of Pegasus are various galaxies and a globular cluster.

The globular cluster is named NGC 7078 or Messier 15 (M15). It has an apparent magnitude of around 6.2 and is located at a distance of approximately 33,600 light-years. It can already be observed as a hazy patch in a pair of binoculars, but a telescope is required to resolve individual stars. M15 is northeast of the star Enif.

NGC 7331 is one of the many galaxies in Pegasus. It is a spiral galaxy with an apparent magnitude of approximately 9.5. Its distance from the Milky Way is estimated to be 46 million light-years. The German-British astronomer William Herschel discovered it in September 1784. Observing this galaxy requires a telescope.

Spiral galaxy NGC 7331
Spiral galaxy NGC 7331; Author: Credit Line and Copyright Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona; Source: http://www.caelumobservatory.com/gallery/n7331.shtml

Mythology

In Greek mythology, Pegasus sprang from the body of Medusa, the once beautiful young woman who was raped by Poseidon and subsequently transformed into a snake-headed monster. When the hero Perseus put an end to her unworthy life, Pegasus was born. The winged horse flew away and was later captured by Bellerophon, with whom he had many adventures.

Together they defeated the monster Chimera, after which Bellerophon was hailed as the favorite of the gods. However, when he wanted to ascend to the Olympian gods, he incurred the wrath of Zeus. So Zeus sent a horsefly to sting Pegasus.

The horse reared and threw Bellerophon off, who survived the fall to the ground but became blind and paralyzed. Pegasus flew on to Olympus and since then carried Zeus' thunderbolts and thunder.

As a reward for his many heroic deeds, Pegasus was ultimately placed in the sky.

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